In the true spirit of quackery, which cannot bear criticism or the exposure of its absurdities, Dr. Steven Eisen has expeditiously taken action to suppress my criticism of his marketing himself as a dog cancer expert despite no formal training in veterinary medicine, oncology, or any of the other areas of medicine in which he gives advice to dog owners. He has written to my internet service provider claiming that my quotations from his web site constitute copyright infringement. Here is the notice that was forwarded to me:
Sent via email and fax
re: DMCA Notice of Copyright Infringement
To Whom It May Concern:
My name is Dr. Steven Eisen and I am President of Pet Love LLC. A website that your company hosts (according to WHOIS information) is infringing on at least one copyright owned by my company.
Copyrighted text and graphics from several pages of our websites were copied onto your servers without permission. The original material, to which we own exclusive copyrights, ca be found at:
The unauthorized and infringing copy can be found at:
This letter is official notice under Section 512© of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), and I seek the removal of the aforementioned infringing material from your servers. I request that you immediately notify the infringer of this notice and inform them of their duty to remove the infringing material immediately, and notify them to cease any further posting of infringing material to your server in the future.
I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing in not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
Under penalty of perjury, I certify that the information contained in this notification is both true and accurate, and I have the authority to act on behalf of the copyright(s) involved. I am providing this notice in good faith and with the reasonable belief that rights my company owns are being infringed. Should you wish to discuss this with me please contact me directly.
Dr. Steven Eisen
It is likely that my use of statements made on Dr. Eisen’s site constitutes fair use under copyright law, but that decision would need to be made by a judge in the course of a copyright infringement lawsuit. I am perfectly willing to argue that the fair use provisions apply here, since I believe the attempt to suppress criticism by Dr. Eisen is an illegitimate misuse of intellectual property law.
Unfortunately, my options under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA) for response are not great. I can leave the material up, in which case my IP will shut down my entire domain within 48 hours. I can remove the quoted material. I can contest the complaint, in which case my IP will shut down my entire domain for 10 days. If Dr. Eisen doesn’t sue in that time, the domain is reopened. If he does, then it remains closed until the case is decided.
Such flagrant misuse of copyright law deserves to be contested, so I will be seeking legal advice on the best way to do so. In the meantime, if the site diappears for a while, you’ll know why.
I have temporarily removed the disputed material from the site and filed a DMCA counterclaim. Dr. Eisen now has 10 days to decide whether or not to file for an injunction. If he does not, the original material will be reposted. If he does, then a court will decide whether my use of his words in a journalistic critique on a public interest, non-profit web site constitutes fair use of copyrighted material.